Chris Harman's article on the financial crisis (Feature, Socialist Review, February 2008) highlighted the most important historical problems facing capitalism today.
The ideological basis of so-called "Middle England" has precisely been the massive lending by banks to workers to keep the economy running. The figure quoted in Harman's article of British workers' "debt to disposable income ratio" at 162.9 percent is truly astounding. Some workers do have large TVs, cars, etc, but when personal debt reaches this level the very "ownership" of these goods is put into question.
The panic and lunacy of capitalism's attempts at restoring profit rates are behind the ridiculous levels of consumer debt, not "irresponsible" borrowing by workers. If workers didn't borrow and spend, recession would have hit years ago.
One thing we can be sure of is that the solutions the capitalists find to save their system in coming months will share no common ground with workers' needs.